Whole blood viscosity as a determinant of cardiac hypertrophy in systemic hypertension
The relationships among blood pressure (BP), blood viscosity and echocardiographic left ventricular (LV) muscle mass were evaluated in 24 patients with essential hypertension and in 13 normotensive control subjects. LV mass was greater in the hypertensive patients than in the control subjects (225 +/- 69 vs 170 +/- 31 g, p less than 0.02) as was blood viscosity at a shear rate of 104 sec-1 (4.7 +/- 0.1 vs 4.3 +/- 0.2 cp, p less than 0.005). Among the hypertensive patients, LV mass was most closely related to viscosity at 104 sec-1 (r = 0.80, p less than 0.001), whereas only weak correlations were found between LV mass and systolic or diastolic BP (r = 0.45, p less than 0.05 for both). The 14 hypertensive patients with normal LV mass had viscosity similar to that in control subjects (4.5 +/- 0.3 vs 4.3 +/- 0.2 cp), whereas viscosity was consistently increased (5.0 +/- 0.4 cp, p less than 0.02) in hypertensive patients with LV hypertrophy. Thus, increased blood viscosity may be a determinant of or a response to hypertensive cardiac hypertrophy.